Dog owners who register carrying those who don’t
July is over and all we responsible dog owners would have paid the annual dog registration fee to the local councils.
And all the dog owners who haven’t paid will be the main reason the rest of us have to pay so much.
The people who don’t register, by definition, aren’t responsible owners.
With microchipping now a legal requirement, theoretically, there should be a reducing need for impounding dogs. They can be instantly scanned, their owner details uploaded from the National Dog Database and the dog returned directly to the owner’s home with the appropriate fine.
But unfortunately a large proportion of dogs impounded will not only be unregistered but also not microchipped.
The animal control officers also go about ensuring people are educated about dog ownership. In the old days the councils, under the Dog Control Act, were required to help the Ministry of Health to eradicate hydatids tapeworms so that people wouldn’t contract this preventable disease.
Councils and animal control officers in those days spent a lot of time and money managing this problem with dog dosing and a big part of the cost of the dog registration fee then was to achieve this. It worked and now hydatids is officially eradicated. The responsible dog owners don’t need this education. They simply de-worm their dogs regularly.
Then there are the aggressive dogs, barking dogs and other nuisance dogs. The animal control officers are very helpful in these cases and they certainly do a very good job, but again the responsible dog owners will seek solutions to these problems themselves.
It is the irresponsible ones who will not and therefore inevitably take up council time and resources.
If I have a microchipped, vaccinated, regularly de-wormed, neutered dog that is not aggressive, lives behind a six-foot high fence and has never been impounded, what am I actually paying my dog registration fee for?
I understand it is a user-pays fee and that non-dog owning ratepayers should not shoulder the costs associated with dogowners. However, my argument is that responsible dog owners should not shoulder the costs for irresponsible dog owners either.
If the councils provided more dog walking areas or reserves, dog poo bags and bins, then many dog owners wouldn’t be so resentful of paying the annual registration fee.
Dr Ian Schraa is owner of Rappaw Veterinary Care.
Hand bitten: Responsible dog owners receive little value from registration fees.